DOT Pipeline Compliance News

April 2005 Issue

In This Issue

Updates to Pipeline Safety Rules – RSPA to PHMSA

In accordance with the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act, which reorganized the Department’s pipeline and hazardous materials safety programs into the new Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), all references to the former Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) in 49 CFR parts 190 through 199 have been changed effective March 8, 2005 to reflect the creation of PHMSA. The revisions also update the Office of Pipeline Safety’s internet and mailing addresses, docket procedures, titles, section numbers, penalty considerations and cap adjustments, terminology, and other changes conforming part 190 with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. The amendments made by this rule reflect the changed organizational posture of the agency and update the part 190 enforcement procedures to reflect current public law. This rule does not impose any new operating requirements on pipeline owners and operators.

Integrity Management Services

RCP can assist pipeline operators with ongoing compliance management and engineering associated with your IMP. This includes direct assessment strategies, tool and vendor selection, ILI/ECDA report analysis, corrosion control programs, repair strategies, and IMP/risk model updates. For more information on how RCP can support your ongoing IMP needs, Click Here.

Oil and Gas Stormwater Discharge Permit – Extension

EPA has postponed until June 12, 2006, the requirement to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water permit coverage for oil and gas construction activity that disturbs one to five acres of land. This is the second postponement promulgated by EPA for these activities. This postponement will allow the Agency additional time to complete its analysis of the issues raised by stakeholders about storm water runoff from construction activities at oil and gas sites and of practices and methods for controlling these storm water discharges to mitigate impacts on water quality, as appropriate. Within six months of March 9, 2005, EPA intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register for addressing these discharges and to invite public comments.

During the next fifteen months, EPA intends to (1) complete the economic impact analysis; (2) complete the evaluation of the legal and procedural implications associated with several options that the Agency is considering with regard to regulation of storm water discharges from oil and gas-related construction sites; and (3) continue to evaluate practices and methods operators may employ to control storm water discharges from the sites affected by this rule. One of the issues EPA will be examining during this period is how best to resolve questions posed by outside parties regarding section 402(l)(2) of the Clean Water Act, which exempts certain storm water discharges from oil and gas exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission facilities from NPDES permit requirements. EPA intends to convene at least one public meeting with stakeholders for the purpose of exchanging information on current industry practices and the effectiveness of those practices in protecting water quality and obtaining input on the appropriate approach for addressing construction storm water discharges from this industry. EPA will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register with information about this public meeting. Finally, EPA expects to propose and take some subsequent final action based on the Agency’s conclusions following these activities prior to June 12, 2006.

Entities potentially affected by this action include operators of construction activities disturbing at least one acre, but less than five acres of land at oil and gas sites, North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes and titles: 211-Oil and Gas Extraction, 213111-Drilling Oil and Gas Wells, and 213112-Support Activities for Oil and Gas Operations. EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. OW-2002-0068.

Need help with the new Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) deadline?

RCP can help determine whether these new rules are applicable to you as well as develop, update & submit permits for your construction projects. Click Here to request additional information.

Who you gonna call? 8-1-1

On March 10, 2005, the FCC approved a nationwide number for damage prevention (one-call) notifications – 811. When this new three digit number is fully implemented (which will take about 1 year), it will automatically be routed to an appropriate one-call center, providing an easy-to-remember method for excavators to fulfill their one-call notification requirements anywhere in the United States.

RCP Services Spotlight – Underwater Inspection Procedures and Interval Risk Modeling

Underwater Inspection Procedures – On August 10, 2004, the DOT published final amendments to 49 CFR 195.413 and 49 CFR 192.612 for Periodic Underwater Inspections of regulated pipeline facilities located in water depths of 15’ or less in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets. Effective August 10, 2005, operators of certain hazardous liquid and gas pipelines will be required to have procedures in place to identify, inspect, and address those pipelines that are exposed or pose a hazard to navigation. RCP has experience developing comprehensive pipeline safety procedures including procedures to meet the new underwater inspection requirements. RCP can develop comprehensive and customized procedures that address these requirements, including:

  • General application criteria
  • Underwater inspection technologies most appropriate for your pipelines
  • Measures to be taken in the event pipelines are exposed or pose a threat to navigation
  • Risk-based analysis to determine appropriate inspection intervals

Inspection Interval Risk Modeling – The recently finalized regulations for Periodic Underwater Inspections are performance-based and require certain pipeline operators to develop procedures to identify and take appropriate action for lines that pose a hazard to navigation or are otherwise exposed. The Office of Pipeline Safety suggests the use of risk analysis when developing the rationale for inspection intervals. RCP’s development of a proven integrity management risk model has enabled us to translate that success into development of a similar approach to identify underwater inspection intervals.

If you would like information regarding RCP’s Underwater Inspection Procedures or Interval Risk Modeling e-mail Jessica Roger or call (713) 655-8080.

Integrity Management Plan Up-to-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive Integrity Management Plans for both liquid and gas pipelines. Click here if you would like information on RCP’s Integrity Management Services.

Liquids Integrity Management FAQ Update

The OPS has issued a proposed response to the following Frequently Asked Question relating to temporary pressure reductions after identification of an immediate repair condition:

Question: FAQ E.1: Section 195.452(h)(4)(i) requires that I temporarily reduce pressure in response to an immediate repair condition. The same paragraph also requires that I must calculate the reduction using the formula in section 451.7 of ASME/ANSI B31.4. If using that formula results in a calculated safe pressure that is higher than my original operating pressure, must I still reduce pressure? To what?

The Proposed Answer is as follows:

Proposed Answer:Yes. A pressure reduction is required to provide additional safety margin until an immediate repair condition can be addressed. OPS expects that situations in which the calculated safe pressure using the formula in section 451.7 of ASME/ANSI B31.4 is higher than the original operating pressure will be rare. Nevertheless, if the calculated pressure is greater than the existing operating pressure, pressure must still be reduced to provide the necessary margin. Operators should determine the amount of such reduction based on their particular circumstances.

Operators should also note that the specified formula only applies to metal loss anomalies (i.e., corrosion). It does not apply to immediate repair conditions that do not involve metal loss, nor does it apply to dents with metal loss. For those circumstances, operators must determine an acceptable method for calculating an acceptable reduced operating pressure. A reduction of 20 percent below the highest operating pressure actually experienced at the location of the defect within the two months preceding the inspection may provide the necessary additional safety margin.
(See FAQ 7.15)

Opportunity for comment is available by going to the following website:

Need to Update Your Current Operator Qualification Program?

We have the expertise to update your current operator qualification program to satisfy the upcoming regulation change and inspection protocols. Click Here to request more information.

Operator Qualification Update – OQSG User Group Meeting, Houston TX March 23rd-24th

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter (March 2005 DOT Pipeline Compliance News), OPS issued a Final Rule that outlines certain requirements for personnel training, notice of program changes, government review and verification of programs, and use of on-the-job performance as a qualification method. This Direct Final Rule goes into effect July 1, 2005, if OPS does not receive any adverse comment or notice of intent to file an adverse comment by May 2, 2005.

On the first day of the OQSG User’s Group Meeting in Houston, a representative from the OPS was asked about this final rule and how the OPS plans to interpret and enforce. Several attendees were surprised to hear that the OPS currently interprets the new language to require operators to evaluate BOTH knowledge AND skills of operators performing covered tasks. This includes documentation of written or oral knowledge assessments AS WELL AS documentation of skills assessments of operators performing covered tasks. This interpretation provoked a lively discussion among the operators and contractors in attendance and was apparently reaffirmed with other OPS officials the following day.

The OPS also communicated that updated Operator Qualification Inspection Protocols will be made available to the public in the next few weeks. These protocols should provide additional guidance on how the OPS plans to enforce the revised OQ requirements. RCP will include the updated inspection protocols in the newsletter following their publish date.

Are Your Response Plans Current?

RCP can provide audits and updates to help ensure that your spill and emergency response plans are current and meet federal and state requirements. Click Here.

Gas Distribution Pipeline Integrity Meetings

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) plans to conduct several work group meetings in 2005 to evaluate ways to enhance integrity of gas distribution pipeline systems. The work groups include representatives of OPS, state pipeline safety regulators, the gas distribution industry, the Gas Pipeline Technology Committee, the Fire Marshal’s Association, and the public.

Executive representatives of the study group met in Dulles, VA on March 16 and 17, 2005, to begin this effort. That group concluded that further investigation of potential approaches to assuring distribution integrity is needed. The executive group further concluded that the most useful approach is likely to include a combination of a high-level, risk-based federal regulation with implementation guidance included in a consensus standard or a guidance document. States, which are principally responsible for regulating distribution system safety, could impose additional requirements beyond the federal regulation and could adopt all or portions of the guidance. The executive group also concluded that a program of public education could be important to reducing the frequency of damage caused by excavations near distribution pipelines and that research and development should be conducted to identify improved means of assessing the integrity of distribution pipelines.

The latest meeting was held on March 29-31, 2005, in Dallas, Texas. The participants were formed into four study groups to evaluate strategic options, risk control practices, protection against outside force damage, and data issues related to understanding distribution integrity threats. OPS expects that this effort will involve a series of meetings by each sub group, and the Steering Committee. The date and time of future meetings will be set to suit the schedules of the participants. OPS will announce the time and place of future meetings on the Web site ( OPS will also post on that web site minutes of meetings, copies of nonproprietary documents considered during the meetings, and work group products.

For more information, contact Mike Israni, OPS, (202) 366-4571;

O&M Manual Up-To-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive procedures that you need to protect your people, facilities, and environment. Click Here

Texas LP-Gas: Proposed Rule Revisions

The Railroad Commission of Texas proposes amendments, repeals, and new sections in 16 TAC Chapter 9, relating to LP-Gas Safety Rules. The Commission proposes these amendments, repeals, and new rules to update some training and continuing education requirements, to clarify changes in Commission offices or procedures as a result of a reorganization of LP-gas activities among the AFRED, Gas Services, and Safety Divisions, to repeal some unnecessary rules, and to make other substantive and non-substantive amendments. The Commission proposes an effective date of September 1, 2005, for these amendments, new rules, and repeals.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Rules Coordinator, Office of General Counsel, Railroad Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711-2967; online at; or by electronic mail to The Commission will accept comments for 60 days after publication in the Texas Register. For further information, call Richard Gilbert at (512) 463-6935. The status of Commission rulemakings in progress is available at

RCP’s Fantastic 1-Page Version of New SPCC Regulation

The deadline for SPCC Plan revisions is fast approaching, February 17, 2006! RCP has developed a 1-page version (in tiny type) of the new SPCC regulations, to be revised as per the April 17, 2003 rule modification. To receive a complimentary copy along with a CD of valuable SPCC Reference Materials Click Here to request additional information.

OPS Announces Liquid IMP Meeting, May 17-18

The Office of Pipeline Safety will sponsor a 1-1/2 day workshop on May 17th & 18th in Houston to discuss lessons learned from the initial Integrity Management inspections of hazardous liquid pipeline operators, and to communicate expectations for further operator Integrity Management program development. There will also be panel discussions that include industry and regulatory representatives

To register, go to;=30.

Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Leak Detection

The OPS has added a 2003 report on Hazardous Liquid Leak Detection Techniques and Processes to the Liquid Integrity Management website. The report provides examples of various leak detection systems, including methods to enhance leak detection within High Consequence Areas. This report is intended to serve as a technical resource for OPS and State pipeline safety inspectors evaluating operators’ integrity management (IM) programs. Inspectors consider information from a number of sources in determining the adequacy of each IM program. Development of these reports was funded via a Congressional appropriation specifically designated for implementation of IM oversight. These and other similar reports are separate and distinct from the work products associated with and funded via OPS’s R&D; Program. To view a copy of this report, go to:

Need to update your Public Awareness Program?

RCP can help develop your updated plan to meet API RP 1162 standards, and provide turnkey implementation, mail-outs, evaluations, and tracking of your program. For more information call or Click Here.

OPS Issues new FAQ’s for Gas IMP

The OPS has updated several Frequently Asked Questions for Gas Integrity Management Programs this past month. To see each response from the OPS, click on the questions below. For a list of all FAQ’s, go to .

  • FAQ-233. Does growth of an existing HCA, which introduces new length of pipeline segment into the HCA, constitute a “newly-identified HCA?” [03/14/2005]
  • FAQ-27. Can assessments performed before the effective date of the rule be relied on as baseline assessments? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-124. The rule includes many requirements that do not have specified time periods for completion. Examples include gathering and integrating data and information on the entire pipeline, updating risk assessments when the results of assessments are available and identifying HCAs for new pipe. How soon must these actions be completed? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-159. What constitutes an “incident” of the kind for which operators implementing performance-based programs must evaluate for implications to their pipelines and IM programs (192.913(b)(1)(v)? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-174. The centerline of a pipeline may not be accurately determined via GIS or other method. What provisions must be taken to address for tolerances in these measurements? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-215. ASME B31.8S states that Immediate conditions shall be examined within five days after determination of the condition. Is this 5 day requirement part of the Final Rule? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-223. What kind of data must I collect and evaluate to use stress corrosion cracking direct assessment (SCCDA)? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-224. What actions must I take on non-covered segments if I find corrosion during an assessment of segments in HCA? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-229. Must I include a safety factor when calculating an acceptable reduced operating pressure [per 192.933(d)(1)] for the interim period until immediate conditions can be repaired? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-231. What 5-year period must I consider to establish a reference pressure for stability of maintenance and construction defects? [03/09/2005]
  • FAQ-84. The Integrity Management Program portion of the rule [192.907] applies to all portions of a pipeline system that are in HCAs, including compressor stations, metering stations, and other equipment. What must an operator do to comply with the rule for these facilities? [03/04/2005]

Need A Security Plan or Audit?

We have the expertise to develop a security plan and perform risk assessments for pipeline and terminal facilities to meet recent DOT Hazmat Transportation & Pipeline regulations. We can also assist you in USCG security plans for dock facilities and vessels. Please contact Jessica Roger for more information.

Texas Railroad Commission & Louisiana Department of Natural Resources sign MOU

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to provide written notice to each other when certain oil and gas activities will occur near each side of the state line. Both states also agreed that a 15-day prior notice of approved projects would be helpful in case the activity could have an adverse impact on the other side of the boundary line. In addition, each state would have time to make necessary assessments and/or objections before the start of a project. The DNR also requested that the bordering states of Mississippi and Arkansas be considered in a MOU with Louisiana and is working with those states at the present time to pursue a “timely notice” agreement like the Texas MOU.

API/AOPL Issue IMP Update to US Congress

The American Petroleum Institute and Association of Oil Pipelines issued a joint letter to Congress in January regarding the compliance status of the liquid pipeline integrity management rules. The letter provided details on compliance with rule deadlines, integrity assessment results, actions taken by operators to remediate identified issues, and OPS enforcement actions. A copy of the letter can be viewed at

Acquiring a pipeline?

RCP can provide due diligence audits to help you ensure that potential compliance issues have been addressed before the sale is final. Click Here.

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W. R. (Bill) Byrd, PE
RCP Inc.